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This article is about the municipality in India. For its namesake district, see Purnia district.
Metropolitan City
Location in Bihar, India

Coordinates: 25°47′N 87°28′E / 25.78°N 87.47°E / 25.78; 87.47Coordinates: 25°47′N 87°28′E / 25.78°N 87.47°E / 25.78; 87.47

Country  India
State Bihar
District Purnia
Elevation 36 m (118 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 32,73,127
 • Density 794.49/km2 (2,057.7/sq mi)
 • Official Maithili, Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 854301
Telephone code +916454
Vehicle registration BR-11
Literacy 74.48%
Lok Sabha constituency Purnia

Purnia, spelt 'Purnea' by the government, is a city and a Municipal Corporation in Purnia district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is located 300 km from Patna.

The Indian army, Indian Air Force, Border Security Force (BSF) and the SSB have bases around the city.


The origin of the name appears to have different sources. The name possibly originates from the Sanskrit word Purna–Aranya which stands for "complete jungle".[1] Purnia could be an altered form of the old name Purania, derived from the word purain or Lotus, which is said to have grown on the Kosi and Mahananda rivers. This derivation is stated by O'Malley and is also in the old gazetteer. An alternative could be a derivation from the words Pur Aranya. W.W. Hunter and Buchanan have mentioned the name of Purnia, it being a forested area, using combination of the words purn (full) and aranya (forest).

The name of Purnia's 600 year old temple of Mata Puran Devi (Kali), located about 5 km outside the city, is believed[by whom?] to be the name origin of Purnia.


Purnia has a tradition of at least a few centuries behind it. Under the Mughal rule, the district comprised Sarkar Tajpur, east of the Mahananda river and Sarkar Purnia, west of the river. Purnia, at that time was a great military seat under the rule of a Fauzadar as a frontier district; Purnia has always had an extra administrative importance. The district of Purnea in modern history was formed by the East India Company on 14 February 1770.[2] Even in the early British days, Purnia was considered to be an important responsibility particularly as it was located on the border of Nepal.


Purnia and its surrounding lands, lies in the sub-montane alluvial tract of the Gangetic Plain.

There is a hilly tract in the north with a small hill of Calcareous belt, called Chotapahar near Manihari. It has a slope from the north to the south and is traversed by a number of rivers and their tributaries. The district is composed of alluvial soil, partly old and partly new. The old alluvium is found in the north of the district where it consists of kankars (stone dust). The new alluvium is available in the south of the district and is composed of silt, clay and the sand. The alluvial soil is supposed to be brought by the Ganges and its tributaries from the Himalayas and is very rich with fertilizing elements.


Purnia is known for its moderate Climate; it has also remarkably earned its name as 'Poor's man's Darjeeling' due to its favourable climate. Purnia, with the highest rainfall in Bihar state, has a largely humid climate, with humidity rising to above 70%. A cold season, from November to February, is followed by a hot season from March to June. The monsoon season begins in early June and lasts until September and 82% of total annual rainfall falls during the monsoon season.

January, the coldest month, has a mean daily minimum temperature of 5 to 10 °C and a mean daily maximum of 20 to 25 °C. Wind is typically light in the non-monsoon seasons but during the monsoon, storms and depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal cause heavy rain and strong winds.


Bhatta Bazar is the commercial hub for Purnia district and the most crowded place in the city of Purnia. There are many shopping complexes and branded showrooms in Bhatta Bazar. Gulab Bagh in Purnia houses the big and famous ‘Anaaj Mandi’ which is a major grain storehouse and also India’s largest maize trading centre. It is from here that the grain requirements of the northeast states are met. Due to its favourable location in the eastern part of the country, it has the potential of becoming a prime centre for trade and commerce. Bhatta Bazar and Line Bazar are the most important and busiest parts of the city.

Line Bazar, Purnia, is the biggest hub of medicine after Patna with doctors of almost every specialization.

India's first and the only Jute Park called the Punrasar Jute Park is located at Maranga in Purnea.

Many real estate development projects are planned in the city. These include residences, shopping malls, hotels and a resort.

Purnia is a large centre for sale and service of automobile, the second largest centre after Patna. It is also the only city other than Patna in Bihar where International Driving Permit is issued.

[3] Agriculture

The following paragraph should appear in the article on Purnia district, not in this article on Purnia city.

Purnia city is supplied agricultural products from its surrounding countryside. The alluvial soil, irrigated by the Kosi and Mahananda rivers, has been particularly suited to the paddy cultivation of rice. Other crops grown are potatoes, wheat, khesari, chickpeas, chili peppers, maize, lentils, arhar dal, barley, sugarcane, tobacco, makhana, mung beans, and jute.[4] The previous extensive growing of jute supported a former flourishing jute industry which has now declined.


Purnia has always been the centre of education in the north Bihar region. Founded in 1800 at the time of British rule, Zila School is Purnia's oldest, and one of the city's largest. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Garhbanaili (14 km away from main city) is a prestigious school of this city run by government. Purnia also has a Kendriya Vidyalaya. Ursuline Convent English/Hindi Medium School has been amongst the top schools for decades. Other prominent schools includes Millia Convent English Medium School, Don Bosco School, D.A.V Public School, Mount Zion Mission School, Bright Career School, Bijendra Public School,Saraswati Vidya Mandir,Saraswati Shishu Mandir and many more.

There are colleges for higher studies concentrating on diverse fields including that in Engineering, Law, Arts, Home Science. Having recognition from the state Government and various other Government Universities such as Aryabhatta Knowledge University and B N Mandal University, these college have been the reason for being the educational hub for its neighbouring population. To mention a few are:

  • Purnia College
  • Law College
  • Millia Group Of Colleges(managed by Millia Trust)
  • An Agriculture College

The City also has a Women's college with a view of upragading the status of women.

Engineering Colleges in the city:

  1. Millia Institute Of Technology
  2. Millia polytechnic Rambagh
  3. Government Polytechnic
  4. Vidya Vihar Institute Of Technology

A medical college has been proposed by the Bihar government. Indian Red Cross Society has the largest blood bank in the state after Patna with a capacity of 1,000 units.

The Indira Gandhi Stadium houses the SAI sports hostel for athletes. The DSA and Zila School grounds are the city's outdoor stadiums.



Purnea Airport also known as Chunapur Airport, located within the cantonment area has a non-scheduled flight services on Kolkata - Patna - Purnia route twice a week.It has been operated by Bangalore based The Spirit Air Private Limited.The nearest commercial airport is about 150 km away at Bagdogra.


Purnia railway junction is situated on Katihar-Jogbani broad gauge railway line of North East Frontier Railway (NFR). This railway line earlier was metre gauge. Another metre gauge line of East Central Railway (ECR) connects Purnia with Saharsa via Banmankhi. Conversion of the 36 km long Purnia-Banmankhi stretch in Purnia-Saharsa section to broad gauge under project Unigauge is likely to be completed in 2013.[5] There are daily and weekly trains to Kolkata, New Delhi and other neighboring cities.


National Highways NH 31, NH 57 and NH 107 give access to the other states and cities, where state highways connect the neighbouring cities and villages. The east-west corridor connecting Silchar in Assam to Gujarat passes through Purnia. It is a modern six-lane highway constructed by NHAI (National Highway Authority of India). State Highways 62, 65 and 77 also pass through Purnia.

Intra-city Transport

A large number of cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and city buses serve the city.

Language and literature

Maithili, Hindi and Bengali are the principal languages of Purnia, spoken with Santhali, Surjapuri, Polia, Angika and Santhali dialects. Hindi is the official language.

Purnia is associated with many poets and literary figure[1] including:

Notable people

  • Sushant Singh Rajput Actor from Maldiha village Purnia.
  • Manish Vatsalya Actor and Director.
  • Nitish Chandra,[6] Fashion Designer.


As per 2011 census, Purnia Municipal Corporation had a total population of 280,547, out of which 148,021 were males and 132,526 were females. It had a sex ratio of 895 females to 1,000 males. The population below 6 years was 31,822. The literacy rate for the 6+ population was 76.53% compared to 64.3% national average.[7]

Hindus were 85% and Muslims were 11% of the population. Purnea has a majority Maithil population.

Purnia Urban Agglomeration had a population of 310,817 in 2011[8] and comprised Purnia Municipal Corporation and Kasba (Nagar Panchayat).[9]


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